Go bright and daring with Ableton Live color schemes – including one very green option – and load up with some samples from a Christmas ornament. It can be festive, or it can be … something else entirely.

Back in the days of Live 4, life was more colorful. Some of the schemes were a nightmare for people with various types of color blindness; some maybe just didn’t hold up to more refined taste standards later.

But … you know, there is something about transforming your Live color set, even to something extreme. It can help break you out of a rut. And you can even make the thing look insanely forest green if you want. It’s all the latest from Madeleine Bloom, released earlier this month but well worth a mention while some of us are getting days off work/Zoom or at least looking for something to liven up December, with or without a particular holiday.

Live Themes #11 features Battleship, Fungus, Laser, Metal and Midnight. That’s for Live 10 and later (including Live 11 beta), but Live 9-compatible stuff is still available on her site.


And if that’s not enough free stuff for you, the most prolific free Live Pack producer on planet Earth is back with something he calls Christmas Bears. This is not the sound of gummi candies squishing or something that growls, but a sample of a very kitsch-y looking Christmas ornament.

It can sound charming, innocent. It could make the trailer for your new indie Hallmark-style Christmas feature. Or… uh, maybe I’ve watched too many movies, but it sounds like with just a little more reverb it’s perfect for your Christmas-themed splatter flick where a bunch of toys cross over from Hell to murder everyone, or maybe Tom Nook sucks you into your Nintendo Switch.

Just, you know – whatever you’re into. That’s what sample packs are for, erm, self-expression.

In all seriousness, this is an excellent lesson in how to create complete instruments out of your samples – and it has hilarious Christmas-themed knob labels. Christmas cheer is chorusing. And Frequency Modulation is just the kind of miracle we should have every day of the year. (“Ding! dong! merrily on high; the carrier wave is ringing!”)

Here is Brian with the explanation. Honestly, to sound designers, this is exactly what those Hallmark movies should be – explaining instrument racks, natch.

Now I have 24 hours to figure out what Amplitude Modulation Boxing Day is. It sounds good, right? Let’s make it so.